Best Commute Possible? Why an eBike might be the answer.

As many cyclists already know, in a city like Toronto, commuting by bicycle is faster than cars and motorcycles, and now using big data from smartphones it has been proven. 

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Significant data gathered from the smartphones of delivery companies (i.e. Deliveroo) and couriers, shows that peddled two-wheel city travel is faster than motor-driven vehicles, and with this evidence, that fact would now seem irrefutable.

However, the relative speed of a city commute isn’t the only consideration regarding the best way to commute, other factors are fairly important as well, especially in today’s ever-quickening pace of life. One must also consider the fitness factor, the mental health aspect, the environmental impact and the benefit of arriving at your place of work, or home at the end of the day, in a refreshed, more buoyant mood.

But, I hear you say, what about arriving in a lathered-up state of sweat and needing a shower. Well my friends, that’s where eBikes come into the picture.

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It’s not that you can’t get a serious work out on an eBike, it’s just that you don’t have to, it’s all your choice to control. This is one of the fabulous things about commuter eBikes, they actually increase the ways you can use them. Commute? Obviously, even faster than a regular bike. Little errands? Easy, Smeasy. Take the kids to daycare? Add the accessories to safely accommodate your needs, and it’s one of the best ways to teach kids the fun of physical activity as a way of life. And of course, just heading out for a leisurely and fun ride, alone or with others, brings out the smiles that cycling always creates on the faces of riders.

Should you want a workout kind of ride, just turn the ‘e’ system off and ride it like a regular bike. How you choose to ride is up to you, full control is at your fingertips at any time. This is what gives you a wider range of use with an eBike.

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Of course, there is another angle to consider regarding commuting by pedal-power and it talks to an intangible human trait relating to the added peace of mind attained from doing something good the world’s environment, and in a small yet important way, for the benefit of all humanity.

Through this independent move to a friendlier way to commute, we help make a change by becoming a part of a mass movement in altering society’s direction. Choosing to cycle to work or school may seem like a small act, but collectively, people around the world are doing just that in increasing numbers.

Check online to learn how this movement is getting more people on two-wheels than ever, and if you would like to understand why, come in to any of our Gears shops to test ride an eBike. You will quickly understand why this is the fastest growing segment in the cycling universe!

 

See you in the shop, or out there…

Cycling The 6ix


Photos Thanks to Specialized Bicycles | @specialized_ca

Kelly Rides | The Future of the eMtb Event Category

When asked to work the outside eBike test ride area at the fall bike show, I replied with an enthusiastic yes knowing there would be interesting conversations ahead about eBikes.

Sure enough there were, and one of the most interesting ones was with a woman named Kelly. She owns an eBike along with a couple of other regular bikes, but she wanted to know what I thought the future of Electric Bikes might look like. That lead to a deeper conversation and a follow up meeting where she laid out her interest in testing an eBike-based initiative next summer!

 

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In her outreach to learn about eBiking opportunities, Kelly came across the organizer of Crank the Shield, a 3-day stage race in the area of Sault Ste. Marie. Crank the Shield is an awesome event, and this year it is opening up a new category for eMtb’s. “eMTB” meaning electric-pedal-assist mountain bikes.

Kelly is nothing if not gung-ho, so upon learning of the event, she decided to enter the 2019 race in the eMtb category. Now came the hard part; gaining confidence that she could actually do it, and getting ready for the challenge. That’s when I got the call.

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Although she has a mountain bike and enjoys riding trails, she felt the only way to do those kind of distances in that kind of terrain would be on an eMtb. To understand the feel of an eMtb, she wanted to ride one for a weekend and asked if we would rent one to her for that purpose. Since we just recently started renting eMtb’s, it was easy to say yes.

Kelly required an extra-small frame and the one we had in that size was the Liv Vall-e. We set it up and off she went to see how she felt about undertaking the race. Already mid-November, the weekend weather was still looking great, especially riding on a new eMountain Bike.

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We caught up Friday for her report on the eBike, and how she felt about it regarding the potential for doing the race. Kelly started with declaring she loved the experience and was definitely getting her own.

On Saturday, she had gone to Albion Hills for 3 hours of riding both double and single track. Overall, she enjoyed it but the 28 kms she covered (mostly in eco mode) chewed through 40% of the battery life. Clearly, she would need to get a bike with a bigger battery to be able to cover the 75km first leg of CTS.

The next day, off she went to Hardwood Hills where she found a white winter wonderland to make riding a little trickier. An example of that was the spinouts that occurred climbing when she applied too much torque. Even with some snow challenges, Kelly still stayed out for 1 1/2 hours riding mostly in the Eco power setting, and during the entire ride, she saw no one else, only a deer that appeared about 20 feet away. Ahhh, to be out in nature!

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After a few days to filter through her impressions, Kelly’s assessment is that she hopes to find a lighter eMtb, with a shorter wheelbase and at least a 650 Wh battery to complete the distances she will be riding.

Armed with all that information, the job now is to find the best eMtb for a determined woman who is going to ride her first Crank the Shield event.


Cycling The 6ix

#kellyrides #emtb #gearselectric #empoweredbygears

eBikes for Fitness and Health

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University of Basel researchers reported that eBikes are comparable to conventional bikes in promoting health and benefits. Specifically, less-well-trained and/or overweight people can enhance their lives by riding an eBike.

For 10 years, Switzerland has been running a month-long ‘Bike to Work’ program inviting commuters to ride their bike or eBike, and this year nearly 65,000 cyclists participated. The start of the BtW campaign was the starting point for the pilot study.

In short, the researchers from the Dept. of Sport, Exercise & Health, when examining how eBikes compare to conventional bikes in exercise intensity, found them to be similarly effective with comparable health benefits. In addition, after just 4-weeks of training, they found that participants improved their cardiorespiratory fitness. Of the 30 or so volunteer participants who were untrained and overweight, half rode eBikes while the other half rode conventional bikes a distance of over at least 6 km for at least three days.

A month into the program the participants were tested again and found both groups had comparable fitness results as measured by their oxygen uptake capacity. By maintaining this pattern permanently, participants would see their risk of cardiovascular death fall to a clinically-relevant point. As well, both groups were found to have more efficiently working hearts.

A major finding suggested that eBikes can increase motivation in older, overweight people as a way to keep up their fitness training regularly. As well, blood pressure, fat metabolism, and mental well-being was also improved. Overall, the suggestion was that eBikes offer a grand potential for preventing adverse health problems.

Fast on the heels of the above article, Forbes Magazine just ran another article countering the wide-spread notion that using an eBike is ‘cheating’. The article reports that sales of European eBikes in 2017 rose dramatically with 9% increase in the Netherlands, 19% in Germany and a whopping 30% in France. The US was on a similar trend but the 25% Trump tariffs have put a halt to that trend.

At this point in history when climate change is hounding us increasingly, the conventional bike market is in decline. However, eBikes are in the position to help promote increased use of 2-wheel travel by more and more people as the sweat-free fun way to move about during their day.

With all change comes the resistance to said change, and advocates for conventional bikes remain unmoved with comments like ‘eBikes are gadgets for the laziest people’. These people, unfortunately, forget history and the various ways regular cyclists ‘cheat’ while cycling.

After a race in 1902 where a man was defeated by a woman using a bike with a derailleur, it was referred to as a new ‘gadget’ that made cycling easier. It was scoffed at. Of course, there are many more ways cyclists use to make it easier. Riding downhill, crouching over handlebars to create beneficial aerodynamics, drafting behind other riders, and the freewheel that lets a cyclist stop pedalling while moving, are all ways to make cycling easier. Nobody would claim those changes as cheating.

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People using eBikes report good exertion levels as tracked by their wearable fitness-tracking devices. Researchers from the University of Colorado reported in 2016 that eBike riders got an ‘effective workout’ with similar benefits as pedal-only cyclists got.

All these studies and the anecdotal evidence suggest eBikes are definitely a healthy way to travel locally, but as evidence also shows, people who see their traditional way of cycling as the only true way to ride a bike will be the last ones to understand the health and societal benefits. After all, from the time it was introduced in 1902, it took another 32 years before the Tour de France allowed the use of derailleurs. As noted earlier, change is hard for some.

See you out there,

Cycling The 6ix

This Week in e…

Dockless Scooters

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Not only are eBikes in, now eScooters are also making the scene, and in a big way. In the search for the solution to the ‘last mile’ – efficiently getting from a drop-off point in a commute to final destination – electric powered Scooters are quickly finding their way.

 

To indicate the power of these little vehicles, you only need to know that the category is attracting billions of dollars in venture capitol. Adding to this is the news that both Uber and Lyft have enthusiastically launched into the dockless eScooter-Share world as part of their inner-city transportation solutions. Notably, Lime and Bird, two eBike-Share companies, are also very much in the game.

Of course, a portion of the market wants their own eScooter for even more convenience. Look for these improbable, yet totally awesome machines in your favourite Gears store soon.

 

Back to the eBike Boom

Turbo Levo Trail Riding Experience

An earlier post on eBike Emporium recalled that the bicycle, one of the most ingenious inventions ever is 200 years old, and that everything old is new again, hence eBikes.

Why the bike has been deemed that way (ingenious invention) is because a bike is the most efficient and healthiest form of transportation. That thinking applied to eBikes simply provides the way for more people to get on bicycles.

 

Graphene and the Bike Business

If you have read about the new wonder material, graphene, you know that its use is being explored in just about every industry. So where is it showing up in the bike biz? Well so far, it is only being used in higher-end tires (Vittoria). But, more is promised.

Graphene, it is said, will be widely used in wearables to create ‘smart’ clothing for Accident-Free Mobility through Internet connectivity. And although clothing is not the first product in which you would expect Graphene to be used, that would be rubber, nonetheless, that is the bold prediction.

Tires are certainly an important part of a bicycle, and the unprecedented characteristics of Graphene improve air-retention, provides lower rolling resistance and improves grip. But its use in apparel, well that’s just batty!

Verge Science, a US-based company, is betting on connected clothing made possible through the use of graphene. Ease of printing on fabric along with superior conductivity makes possible their easily-believed prediction. They say it’s coming in 2019, stay tuned.

Connected clothing brings us closer to total connectivity, a world where everybody and everything is internet connected and thereby closer to accident-free mobility.

Bosch predicts by 2025, more than 470 million connected vehicles will be operating.

 

Bosch Prepares to Provide Connected Mobility Services

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BERLIN, Germany – Bosch plans to become a provider of mobility services. The components manufacturer (for automotive and bike) has a new Connected Mobility Solutions division with 600+ associates developing and selling digital mobility services – vehicle sharing, ridesharing and connectivity-based services.

 

Bosch envisions, not only fundamental changes in the way we travel from A to B through increased connectivity, but also helping to solve today’s traffic problems.

The market for mobility services and other digital services will be worth approximately 140 billion in just four years. Bosch is positioning to leverage that emerging market with significant double-digit growth.

 

New City Bike Drive System from Brose

BERLIN, Germany – Brose has developed their 5th eBike system with the Drive C, a drive system specially designed for city bike models. The design provides smooth power within a 20-70 pedal cadence range, and always delivers 50Nm of torque regardless of cadence level.

As a Brose representative states, “The drive smooths out any inconsistent rider input, which results in a harmonic riding feeling.”

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The unique aspect of the Brose motor is the internal carbon-reinforced belt made by Gates. The benefits from this difference are the reduction of noise and the prevention of vibration transmission to the pedals. If and when battery power runs out, their free-wheel technology decouples the drive allowing peddling as easy as a regular bike.

Along with Drive C, the other motors in the Brose line-up are Drive S Mag & Drive S Alu for mountain bikes, the Drive TF for pedal-assist up to 45kph (illegal in Canada), and the very efficient Drive T for longer-distance touring. All systems are made in Germany.

 

A Better Level of Understanding for Consumers

When it comes to eBikes, we hear one question more than all others; How far will it go? As with all things powered with electricity whether phone, laptop, car, camping lantern or eBike, it’s always on our minds, so it is an important question.

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Although a little murky because of the various claims made from online, less-scrupulous eBike sellers, battery range estimates have been less than accurate with wide degrees of variation. Now that’s about to change.

A new standardized range test called the R200 has been developed in Germany with the intention being to provide assistance to manufacturers in being able to more realistically quote the range of their batteries, and also to help bike shops assist their customers with more accurate information.

Importantly, the new standard achieves reproducible results, which isn’t always the case in the bicycle industry’s eBike sector.

 

 

Trend or full-on major shift!

Although most people in Canada still don’t know about eBikes, or if they have heard, it hasn’t made much impact on them, yet eBikes are showing signs worldwide of causing a major shift in the very way we think of bicycles.

As news about eBikes is increasingly carried in mainstream media, it will become more obvious to more people that there must be something to this new electric bike thing. Well, this news should cause a bit of a stir!

An exciting piece broke this week to help raise the profile of eMountain bikes (#eMtb), a sector of eBikes that, in Europe, is climbing to new heights every month.

Now Canada will be treated to the spectacle of a fully-endorsed UCI* event. The 2019 World Mountain Bike Championships, where the Rainbow Jersey will go to the world’s best eMtb rider, will take place at Mont Sainte Anne, QC August 21-Sept. 1st.

* Union Cycliste Internationale is the world governing body for sports cycling and oversees international competitive cycling events. The UCI is based in Aigle, Switzerland.

 

Awesome Fun for Autumn – Shred Now, Pay Later!

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Now is the time to jam in some extra trail-riding fun for this year. To gear-up for the eMtb Championships next year, one of the very best eMtb products is being offered right now on a ‘pay-later’ promotional event.  

The top-rated Levo from Specialized is available now to allow keeners to get in a full winter riding program while only paying for their ride in the spring. Come into any Gears shop to get the scoop, and scoop up one of these Levo beasts*.

(See “Beasty Boy Does the Don” for full review of the 2018 LEVO)

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My Sweet Ride & The Best Croissant, Ever!

Finally, the ride I’ve been waiting for and working for all summer, is mine. At the beginning of the season, I was teased into thinking it would come my way a little earlier than it did. Oh well, life doesn’t always pan out the way it’s planned out, and who can really complain when all that angst is in the past. Now that I have my Vado 4.0 (I’m naming it EldoVado) I can only look upward and go onward.

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Suddenly, with my Specialized Vado, I’m inclined to think up places to go with it. And now that I’m thinking about going places, having a destination would probably be a good idea. Initially and immediately, I thought of food! So I’m going off (on my Vado) in search of food, and in this instance, inspired by a local establishment, the specific food is called the croissant.

Owner FleurduJour

Although probably not that original, I’m calling my search Quest for the Best…and in this croissant case, it’s the quest for the best real French croissant, baked by real French-trained pastry chefs. My best real croissant so far is from my neighbourhood Fleur du Jours at 603 St. Clair W near Wychwood. So now that I have the bar set (and set fairly high I might add), I’m starting to research and plan my next croissant conquest in the Quest for the Best to see if there is a more impressive croissant out there. 

Not only am I personaIy going on this search, I’m inviting anyone who cares to join my quest for the best to send in any entry you feel is deserving to be in the ‘competition’. Once we’ve   got a few competing patisseries to consider, I’ll get croissants from each of them for a ‘formal’ judging.

So now, on to the research. My next post in this quest will follow the leads/suggestions I get. More croissant quests to come…More croissant pounds to pedal away…

 

See you out there,

Cycling The 6ix

Spreading the Word…

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While sitting in a cafe working on some blog posts, a woman approached me asking if I owned an e-bike. Yes, I replied, and she then asked if I liked it, to which she heard an enthusiastic, ‘I love it’!

Her interest was further heightened when I mentioned that I sell them too. It seems her friend has one and raves about it, and she was thinking that it might be the answer for her regarding her goal of getting back into cycling.

It seems her husband has the idea they are dangerous, so we discussed that for a bit. To help him understand that e-bikes are no more dangerous than regular bicycles, I suggested she come in with her hubby to take a look at the e-bikes we have, and test ride a couple.

She took down the name of the store and our Leaside location, and told me she would drop by to see what we have on offer. Upon asking her, she said her name is Amy, so I simply let her know it would be a pleasure to see her and her husband to discuss options.

It only dawned on me after our short but pleasant conversation that she knew to approach me with her e-bike interest because of the t-shirt I was wearing; an Easy Motion edition featuring a neon green depiction of a bike with the word e-bike boldly illustrated underneath. Amy is representative of a growing number of people who are asking about and test riding bikes, and as collective interest rises, the trend starts to build toward critical mass. As that happens, e-bikes will fulfil their destiny as a major player in an ‘electro-mobility’ society as we seek to mitigate greenhouse gas effects through more sustainable personal transportation.

Amy hasn’t as yet come into our Leaside shop during my shifts, but to her and all the Amys and Andys throughout The 6ix, in any of four locations, our pro staff will look forward to telling you all about our e-bikes. When you do come in, we will narrow down the type of riding you envision doing, and the style of e-bike best suited, at which point you will be ready to take a test ride to fully understand the powerful attraction of e-bikes.

As a company, we fully believe in and support the notion of transitioning to an electro-mobility society along with the movement to e-bikes to help in the transportation transition. Our belief and commitment toward this better future is demonstrated by the depth and variety of our inventory. We further commit to partnering with our customers in keeping their e-bikes in top working condition through our outstanding service and maintenance program featuring the well known and highly-regarded Gears Lifetime Warranty on component adjustments.

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Looking forward to seeing you in the shop, or out there,

Cycling The 6ix

Make Your e-Bike Safe, Secure and Sexy

Now that you’ve got the e-bike you want, how do you reflect your unique style, make it safer to ride, and keep it safely in your possession?

Every major emerging market brings along with it the support products allowing users to customize it to their needs and keep safe the newly emerged market’s products.

In this case, the market is the e-bike. As mentioned in other e-Bike Emporium posts, e-bikes are fast becoming ‘a thing’ in The 6ix and indications are they will become a very important part in the transition to an ‘electro-mobile’ society.

When a new mass-market product appears that addresses a major component of society, as the mobile phone did with communications, they drive the market for accessories to support the new product. In the case of the enormous e-bike boom over the last number of years in Europe, and more recently in North America, there are myriad new products now making their debut in support of the emergent market of e-bikes.! !

An important component of safe cycling is the bike helmet. Since e-bikes are heavier and clip along at higher average speeds, they create more momentum, and as a result, new helmets are coming to market featuring higher impact standards. Although there are only a few brands now available, certainly we can anticipate all major helmet manufacturers to be offering a model(s).

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Of course, e-bikes are more expensive than regular bikes and that has brought about the marriage of technology and innovation to create a new level of security systems and locks to help ensure your property remains yours. On-board locking systems, beefed up u-locks and chains, ‘smart’ locks that sound an alarm and send an alert to the owner’s phone, GPS tracking devices etc., are making their appearance to address the security issue.

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For many owners, their e-bike is meant to replace many of their local car trips and they equip their bike with bike racks, luggage & bags to give them carrying capacity for commuting to work or for shopping outings.

Given the extra on-board power in e-bikes, trailers are a handy accessory because they provide additional benefits by turning e-bikes into more utilitarian and versatile vehicles. Whether it’s taking the kids to daycare, pets to vets, picking up garden supplies or going on a camping trip with all your gear, trailers can expand the usefulness of any e-bike.

Staying with the theme of carrying things, carrying e-bikes on a car is a consideration since they weigh more than regular bikes. The weight of two e-bikes on the back of a car is going to be 100+ lbs. and that suggests a hitch bike carrier as the only sensible solution. At least one model comes with a detachable ramp for use in rolling e-bikes up and into their position. More models will come to market as the market continues to grow.

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E-bikes offer many people 55+ the opportunity to re-connect with physical activity and get back to having fun on a bicycle. After riding their e-bikes for awhile, some owners realize a need for additional comfort for tush and reduced jarring on their pelvis, spine and neck. To smooth out any ride, new seat post suspension systems have hit the market. Available in different tension levels to accommodate different rider weights, the unit is mounted on top of the seat post with the seat attached to the unit. Expect to see more companies debut their own version of this new product category.

Since more manufacturers are introducing apps that turn an e-bike into a smart-bike, riders will want to have their phones on their handlebars and various sized phone holders will be in demand. Also, independent GPS units will become more in demand until manufacturers start building them into their e-bikes.

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There are currently numerous options for bike lights and many models of e-bikes come with their own lighting systems, but e-bike markets in Europe indicate that directional lights are experiencing increasing demand.

Mirrors are always an important part of cycling and are plentiful in choice and availability. Ergonomic hand grips with a platform for the rider’s palms makes for a much more comfortable ride, and although more manufacturers are including them on their e-bikes, they are also increasingly available as stand-alone accessories.

These are most of the accessories available today, but as with all emerging markets, as e-bikes become ubiquitous, they will drive the introduction of accessories not yet in the marketplace. Regardless of whether you already have an e-bike or will be getting one in the future, there are many accessories available to make your ride your own in safety, security, and appearance.

See you out there,

Cycling The 6ix